Subscriber Security Awareness

Subscriber Security Awareness

 

The purpose of this document is to provide our subscribers with some general awareness on internet security good practices. While the Internet provides a rich source of information and services, there are also undesirable effects such as viruses, Trojan software, and hoax emails being widely propagated. They have the capability to compromise data and software in an infected computer. Therefore individuals should protect their computers against infections by such software when using the Internet. The internet security good practices below highlight a set of practices that include Internet habits as well as technology solutions that can make a difference.

 

 

Viruses and Worms

 

The damage from computer viruses or worms varies based on the maliciousness of the software. The safest approach is to operate reputable anti-virus software and ensure it is kept up-to-date.

 

 

Firewall

 

Firewall software is mandatory to limit what network traffic reaches your computer. The absence of a firewall (properly configured) is like leaving the front door of your home open – when the sufficiently malicious-minded and motivated person happens along, your property will be stolen or damaged.

 

The use of reputable firewall software, ensuring it is kept up-to-date, is necessary to help protect the integrity and confidentiality of your computer and the data on it. This includes use of firewalls on company networks and systems outside the company network, such as laptops and home computers.

 

A useful link - Netsafe.org.nz - Firewalls

 

 

Email threats

 

Do not reply to Spam emails.

 

The following links display spam/junk email information to be wary of:

SCAMwatch (Australia)

SCAMwatch (NZ)

 

 

 

 

Spam is the electronic version of junk mail.

»     Do not respond to spam emails, even to “unsubscribe” from their email distribution list. Responding to emails can result in your browser being sent to a malicious website where software may be downloaded onto your system. At a minimum, by responding you will confirm to the sender that your email address is operational and this will only attract a greater volume of spam.

»     Do not open spam emails. In many cases, spam emails using html display format will alert the sender that you have opened the email, confirming it as an operational email account, by downloading a small file to assist the display of the email on your system.

»     Do not click on any links in spam emails. No matter what words appear on the link to make it appear legitimate, it is very unlikely a legitimate business will ask you to follow a link in an email. By positioning the cursor over the link most email systems and browsers will display the true underlying URL, to help identify illegitimacy of the link and email. Displaying emails in Plain Text will also show the true underlying URL.

»     To minimise the chance of your personal email address appearing on spam email distribution lists be protective of providing your email address. Do not publish your personal email address in a public place, even the organisation’s website – use a non-personal, functional email address.

 

Be wary of Hoax emails. Like spam, they will be unsolicited emails, typically promising you rewards, or avoidance of costs or inconvenience, if you follow their instructions.

 

Some Hoax emails will take the form of “phishing” emails that appear to be from a legitimate institution, e.g. a well-known bank, advising you that there are problems with your account and you need to follow the link in the email to sign-on to the institution’s website to resolve the issue. The link will present a fake sign-on screen which will collect your user-id and password if you enter them. Do not click on links contained in unsolicited emails.

 

Use spam filtering controls within your email system.

 

 

Spyware and Key Loggers

 

The following links display spyware and keylogger  advice:

Scamwatch.gov.au - Spyware and Key-loggers

Netsafe.org.nz - Spyware and Key-loggers

 

Spyware is malicious software that can infect your computer by visiting websites designed to surreptitiously download the software onto your computer or accepting files from untrusted sources, e.g. unsolicited free games and music. Spyware software records your activities, e.g. what websites you visit; and reports it back to the controller of the spyware.

 

Key loggers are similar to spyware in that they record your keystrokes. This type of malicious software is designed to capture sensitive information as you key it in, e.g. user-ids, passwords, and credit card details.

 

Trojan software is another term used to describe malicious software that encourages you to download it and use it by appearing to be legitimate, harmless software.

 

Use anti-spyware software to help protect your computer.

 

 

 

Software patches

 

All software has vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers to compromise your computer. As software vulnerabilities are identified the software vendor releases a patch to correct the problem. When the patch is released, if not before, attackers are aware of the vulnerability and may attempt to exploit it to their advantage, e.g. take control of your computer to use it to attack another.

 

Ensure you are notified as soon as possible of available patches and that they are applied as soon as possible.

 

A useful link - Netsafe.org.nz - Software Updates

 

 

Password protection

 

Protect your passwords as if they are your own – like your ATM PIN or personal internet banking password.

 

Never give out passwords. Never share your password with anyone else or use someone else’s password.

 

Do not use the “Remember Password” options on systems.

 

Do not choose easy to guess details as your password, e.g. Birth dates, pet names.

A useful link - Netsafe.org.nz - Passwords

 

 

Software downloads

 

Any software downloaded to your computer could include malicious software. Only download software from reputable websites and do not access the website by clicking on an email link or a link on a disreputable site.

 

 

Public computers

 

Do not use public computers (at libraries or internet cafes) for any confidential purposes, e.g. requires entry of any password or banking details.

 

 

Auto-complete forms

 

Do not use software on your computer that auto-completes online forms. The storage of the details from the form for use to complete future forms presents a source where malicious software can retrieve sensitive information such as personal and credit card details.

 

   

USEFUL LINKs

 

Some useful links for advice on protecting your computer:

 

http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/securing_your_computer

http://www.e-businessguide.gov.au/protecting

http://www.itsafe.gov.uk/

http://www.getsafeonline.org/

 

Security software is provided by a number of vendors such as:

 

www.trendmicro.com

www.mcafee.com

www.symantec.com

 

 

No security software will guarantee protection against unauthorised access to your system or data, or protect against virus infection, but use of security software will significantly reduce the risks. Veda does not receive commission from the sale of any security software or services.

 

All information contained in this brochure is provided as a guide only. You should obtain appropriate professional advice as to the suitability of any of the matters discussed above to your circumstances. Veda Information Services and Solutions Limited excludes liability for any losses or damage reliance on the information. Veda is member of the Veda Group of companies. ©Veda Information Services and Solutions Limited ABN 26 000 602 862.

 

 

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